Naked Hiking: Enjoying nature in your most natural way

People enjoy naturism for a variety of reasons. For some, it’s the social aspect, the comfort of not having to wear - and wash - clothes, or the freedom that comes with doing something against the norms of society. For others, it’s the relaxing effect, the equal tan, or the body confidence. But there’s one thing that all naturists agree on: There is no better way to fully enjoy nature than in your most natural way.


This can be experienced by just feeling the grass between your toes and a fresh gust of wind passing by your naked body. Or by reading a good book in the shadow of a large tree. But if you really want to explore nature, a good naked hike is often the best possible option.


Why naked hiking is so much better


Of all five senses, our touch sense is the one that we rarely use to the fullest. When we just said “touch sense”, didn’t you immediately think of your hands? Of course, we are used to touching many things with our hands, but the receptors that our body uses to give us the sense of “feeling”  can be found on every piece of our skin. Unfortunately, most of the time, most of these receptors are covered with textiles.


It’s one of the sensations that most first-time naturists immediately recognize. Suddenly, they feel with the skin of their whole body. What does this have to do with nude hiking? Well, everything. When we are surrounded by nature, and we can use our complete touch sense to appreciate it, even the shortest walking trip becomes a whole different experience.


Let your body take control


Naked hiking also comes with a comfort aspect. If you need to take a big step or jump over a small river, this will be a lot easier when you are not restricted by clothes. But why even take the step? On a warm sunny day, you can just wade through the river instead. Or have a quick skinny dip in a lake if you get the chance. Another advantage that many naked hikers praise is that you don’t have those annoying sticky sweaty clothes.


Talking about sweat, this is something that none of us really enjoy. It sticks, it smells, and it makes us feel dirty. But yet, it’s the result of many thousands of years of evolution. It’s our body’s preferred way to maintain its temperature. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work very well when you’re wearing clothes, as these will just immediately absorb all the liquids your body is producing. Basically, your nerves send a “hey, it’s getting pretty hot here” message to your brain. Your brain replies with “no worries, we’ll open up the water supply”. But then your clothes, as unwanted predators, just suck up all the water instead.


This might sound a bit childish, but it’s exactly what happens. Back in the day, we invented clothes to protect us from climates that were too extreme for our bodies to handle. But then we also started wearing these clothes in places where our bodies will actually do a much better job in keeping our temperature at the perfect level. Places like hiking trails through the woods on a sunny afternoon, for example.


By hiking naked, you give your body the chance to prove its capabilities and you’ll be surprised about how well it will function. Your chances to get overheated will decrease significantly and instead of getting bothered by your sweat, you’ll actually enjoy how it cools you down. And once you return, there’s no need for a washing machine full of stinky clothes, just a quick shower will be sufficient.


What to take on your naked hike


We love to praise how much a human body can take care of itself, but we need to admit that it can be quite fragile too. And not all nature is as friendly as we’d wish it to be. If your day trip from l’Elglantière includes a hike through the high Pyrenees, for example, you might want to consider putting some clothes on.


In any case, it’s also recommended to put the following in your day pack:


  • Water: Your body needs water to function. How much is needed really depends from person to person, but the average human requires 2 to 3 liters for a day hike. A good rule of thumb is to return once you’re halfway through your water reserve.


  • Sunscreen: Sweating may prevent your body from overheating, but it will not prevent sunburn. Keep in mind that some of your body parts may not be as used to the sun as others and keep those safe if you don’t want to return as a lobster.


  • Bug spray: One of the best things about hiking in nature is when you encounter wildlife. Nothing really beats the sight of a family of deer enjoying themselves in the distance. But wildlife also tends to come in smaller forms, like mosquitos, which also prefer pure nature and probably your pure natural body too. So make sure to protect yourself from those.


  • Footwear: Some naturists swear on hiking barefoot, others do prefer to cover their feet for the different types of soil that are found in nature. The choice is yours.


  • A day pack: If there is a downside to naked hiking, it’s the lack of pockets. There are probably a lot of things that you want to carry with you, all the above-mentioned and maybe a phone, camera, and your keys. Keep your hands free and take a small backpack or bag.


Where can you go on a naked hike?


It’s pretty obvious that urban places are better avoided. If you want to get the most out of nature, you want to look for natural areas like fields and forests. On the domain of l’Eglantière and in the near proximity, there are several hiking trails where you can perfectly hike without clothes and enjoy some splendid nature and excellent views.


Once a week, Xavier, the owner of the campsite will take a group on a naked hiking trip to show some of his preferred spots and meanwhile give lots of information about the history of the region.


If you do want to get out and explore more of the nearby nature without clothes, it’s important to note that public nudity is not legal in France. So it’s always best to keep a towel or sarong nearby so you can quickly cover up if you would encounter other people. On the Spanish side of the Pyrenees, being naked in nature is actually legal, but that doesn’t mean that it’s always socially accepted. So also here, it’s best to cover up when there are others. If you don’t provoke anyone, you’ll have by far the best chances for an amazing naked hiking experience.